By The Collector
I just returned from East Africa, after about three months in that region, trying to know why their things work, while ours in Central Africa don’t.
We may argue, for instance, that there is also dictatorship in East Africa, but the people get what they want and there is excellence and transparency. Take for example, their airlines, the shipping lines, the banking sector, their schools and universities and so on. Uganda may be under a dictator, but University of Kampala is one of the best in Africa. I don’t think any of ours even appear among the first 100 in Africa.
My CSO assigned me to Bafoussam with my colleague, Kenny, for a one-week seminar with physically challenged persons to enable them learn trades that would make them become independent.
The 30 participants were drawn from the Northwest and West Regions. The seminar had been initially scheduled to hold in Bamenda, but, with the on-going war, we could not assure the security of participants. Kenny and I were to train the Anglophones, while Guy and Yves, were for Francophone participants. Steve, a computer teacher and programmer, came in from Buea. Yolande, a special needs teacher/instructor, came in from Douala, and Mercy, a computer secretary, came in from Yaounde.
We sat at a watering hole just opposite our hotel where the seminar was to take place, waiting for the participants and resource persons who were yet to arrive. We had left word with the receptionist to indicate to those arriving to join us across the road.
Yolande and Mercy arrived in the same car, left their bags at the reception and joined us. We later learned that they had attended similar events together before and knew themselves. Mercy had pleaded with Yolande to wait for her in Douala so they travel together.
Yolande, in her 30s, introduced herself and Mercy, about mid-20. Yolande was dressed in a blue jean trouser and jacket (blouson) and a white ladies shirt inside. Mercy was in a blue-black skirt, a red, blue and white flowery shirt over which was an unbuttoned black pullover. Yolande’s frame was about 1.65m with flesh in the right places, and Mercy about 1.6m, slim at the waist, bulging out majestically and averagely, at the hips, then curving back into straight legs whose downer part to the feet were smooth and hairy. On her chest, seen pressing against her blouse, stood out two orange-shaped temptations, proportional to her size and shape.
Yolande asked her to sit by me and she nodded and sat down, while Yolande took the other seat by Kenny. Steve, computer programmer and trainer, joined us after his shower and sat down opposite us after greetings. Then he opposed the sitting arrangement, arguing that Yolande should sit between him and Kenny. Yolande obliged. “Is that not how this thing is supposed to be?” Steve quipped.
When we were placing our orders for drinks, Yolande made a sign to Mercy, she returned it with a gesticulation and Yolande told the bartender to bring a light larger beer for Mercy.
“She is a very good secretary, but has the challenge of speech. She can neither hear not talk. But can communicate very well if using SMS or writing on paper and the person with whom she is conversing replying and vice versa.
“You mean she is deaf and dumb?” Steve asked.
“That is too hard and archaic. In these modern times, we say she has speech and hearing challenges.”
“Sorry”, Steve said and I watched his and Kenny’s ‘faces fall’.
That makes it better, I thought. I cannot let such a piece of beauty go just because she cannot hear or talk. After all, has it not been said that she can converse by writing using electronic means or.
When the drinks came, I got up and opened Yoalande’s, then Mercy’s and mine and sat down.
“Look at this man,” Steve yelled, “you won’t open our drinks?”
“Do I work here?” I retorted.
“But you just opened these women’s and yours,” he argued.
“Do you have breasts? Get away my friend!” We all laughed at my expression.
Mercy apparently asked, in sign language, what we were laughing about. Yolande was trying to explain and I told her to let me. I tore out a sheet from my diary and wrote: “Write your telephone number here so that I can register it. I will then answer your questions.”
She took the paper and wrote in one of the finest handwritings I have ever seen. “My phone battery is down and it may go off. I intend to charge it this night. However, this is my number ….. But we can still chat on this paper.”
I wrote explaining why we had laughed. She had taken a sip of beer and had not quite swallowed it all, when she read my reaction to Steve. She exploded in laughter, showering me with the beer in mouth. Then she went sad. Got up, removed paper napkin from her bag to wipe my face and shoulder, making sounds to indicate how sorry she was. I took the paper, asked for her to sit down and wiped my face myself.
She took the paper and wrote that she was very, very sorry. I replied that she shouldn’t be bothered; that I was instead happy that it made her laugh. She held my and thanked me, then she remembered the subject matter, laughed again for a very long time, then still chuckling, wrote; “You are very funny.”
We drank two bottles each and the ladies said they were done. As regular quaffers , the two bottles had not quenched our thirsts, so we decided to see the women to their rooms before coming back. The receptionist ushered Mercy into her room, three doors down the corridor (two rooms between us), and Yolande opposite her.
I opened my room I went in to pee, leaving the door open. I guess the first thing Mercy did when she got into her room was try to charge her phone. She knocked at my door explaining that the port in her room was not working. She pleaded with me to let her charge her phone in my room.
Steve and Kenny were already there. I asked Mercy why she didn’t try charging her phone in Yolande’s room. She indicted that Yolande was taking her bath.
She gesticulated that when I am back; I can get her to collect the phone from my room, if I couldnt mind bringing it to her.
I just imagined how I could go and meet that her shape with nothing on. I felt a stretching movement between my legs. I quickly turned, asked her to put the phone off and put it on charge. I then locked my room and we went back to quaff.